Panafrican News Agency

Ethiopian gov't calls on Tigray leaders to 'peacefully surrender'

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The Federal Government of Ethiopia is asking leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), for whom arrest warrants have been issued, to "peacefully surrender" and to refrain from engaging in further atrocities, the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) reported on Thursday.

“The Federal Government would like to reiterate its commitment to bring to justice those responsible for such heinous crimes,” it said.

“As we enter the final phase of the law enforcement operation against the criminal clique within TPLF, we would like to remind the leaders of this group that the atrocities that have been committed by their forces and loyalists in places like Maykadra constitute serious crimes both under Ethiopian and international law,” Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check stated.

The Ethiopian Attorney General has already frozen the assets of 34 organizations affiliated to TPLF, ENA reported.

The organizations have allegedly financed the TPLF and been involved in criminal corrupt practices.

The Attorney General stated that it will appoint asset manager to ensure that the frozen assets are not damaged or wasted until the Director-General of the Criminal Assets Recovery Directorate completes its inspection and restitution.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government has said the National Defence Force has been making progress in its military action against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in the restive Tigray Regional State.

The Ethiopian National Defence Force Chief of Staff, General Birhanu Jula, told journalists in Addis Ababa on Wednesday that the army, which started its operation in the western front, took control of Dansha, Baeker, Maikadar "within a short time" and entered Kafta Humera.

There is no independent confirmation of the claims. The TPLF leaders have not commented as communication with the region has been disrupted. 

The National Defence Force started marching on the capital of the Tigray region, Mekelle, on Tuesday after a deadline for rebel forces to surrender passed.

The Addis Ababa government says the Federal intervention is a mechanism of protecting and defending the constitutional order.

Some 30,000 Ethiopians have been forced to flee the fighting with the UN saying that some 4,000 people a day are streaming into Sudan.

Violence erupted at the start of November in Tigray involving federal and local forces, following the reported takeover of an army base in the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle, which prompted the prime minister to order a military offensive. 

Prior to the Tigray escalation, dozens of people in western Oromia region were killed and injured in attacks.

The Ethiopian Federal Government has also declared a six-month state of emergency in the Tigray Region, whose government is controlled by TPLF.

The TPLF has accused Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, of forcing them out of the government and security posts since taking office in 2018.

-0- PANA MA 19Nov2020